Video: Thursday, 28 September 2017

In Dutch culture, people typically do not talk about their charitable donations, says Dr Pamala Wiepking of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). And she believes this should change. Her research shows that if you really want to support a charity, you must tell people how much you donate. This stimulates others to donate too and changes our perspective on philanthropy.

Picture of Professor Pamela Wiepking

Why you should tell others how much you donate to charity

The decision to donate to a philanthropic cause is often not made in isolation, but the result of a social process, says Dr Wiepking. From seeing or hearing about the donations of others, people not only learn that this is something positive you can do with your money, it also teaches them how pleasant it can be to contribute to charity.

First, seeing others get a warm and fuzzy feeling about themselves after ‘doing good’ can be inspiring and lead people to copy this behaviour. But donating also lets people come across as ‘pro-social’ and caring about others, a desired quality that increases social status, Wiepking continues.

Culture of philanthropy

All in all, charities would benefit when people discuss when and how much they donate, she says. So, what is holding the Dutch back? The researcher says silence about this topic can be traced back to the county’s protestant religious heritage. In this tradition, you typically don’t talk about income or wealth, and the matter of donating to charity was something between ‘you and God’. If we want to create a more open culture of philanthropy, the Dutch must overcome this hesitancy and start talking to each other about our donations, Wiepking concludes.

Prof. Pamala Wiepking

Professor Civil Society and Philantropy

VU Amsterdam

Profile picture of Professor Pamala Wiepking

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